Stephanie Hurt – Romance Author

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What makes a good romance for you?

Romance novels come in many genres. It’s amazing how they’ve changed since I first picked up my first romance. I remember the intense feelings that the book brought out. It was based in Europe in the World War 2 era. I remember crying, laughing and being inspired to find my Prince Charming. I also remember finding out through reading that my Prince Charming would not always be perfect as the fairy tale goes.

For me a good romance needs to take you to another place. I want to be taken away from my normal world and transported into a exotic place, mystical place or just another time. I want the book to carry me away with emotions. The writer needs to make me think I’m there with the character, feeling the emotions, the anger, the sadness, the love, and especially the romance. I want to be able to still feel it even after I put the book down.

I can’t even imagine how many romance novels I’ve read in my lifetime. Recently I went through my collection of novels that are stored in my attic. I had to put them in plastic storage boxes as the boxes were falling apart from age and over use. It’s amazing how many times I’ve read some of them over and over. I even pulled some of them out and read them again. There’s nothing like the feel and smell of a aged book. The yellowed pages pull you in and keep you engrossed. 

I had several authors that I bought everytime I saw a new book in their collections. As I reboxed them I separated them by author. The publishers of most of them are still around, such as Harlequin, Avon and many others. I always knew if it had the Harlequin or Avon symbol on the side that it would be great. I remember going to flea markets and browsing hungrily through the many shelves of used books. As a teenager it was like a scavenger hunt for more titles from some of my favorites. 

A couple of my favorite books have been purchased a couple of times. You may be wondering why, well let me explain. I would lend them out and they never got returned. Then I would go on a mad search for them. When I’d find them again, they would stay with me.

So for me a good romance needs to make an impression. I want to think about it again and again even after I’ve read The End. I want to read it over and over and still fall in love. The characters need to pull at my heart strings. I want to be able to see them in my mind’s eye and carry that throughout the book.

Recently I heard from one of my dear fans. She told me that the descriptions of my characters made her see them clearly. She said that she felt like she knew them personally as she read through to the end. I was pleased that I’d accomplished that goal. Sometimes that can be a hard thing for a writer. You have to make sure that your character is well thought out and explained. If they are blonde, make sure they are blonde throughout. I read a book not too long ago and the main character started out as a blonde and the writer somehow I guess forgot and by the end their hair was ebony. And no they didn’t change hair color out of a bottle. It totally blew my mind.

I love to read a romance that makes me cry. It doesn’t have to be from sadness, but it could be just the sweetness of the romance. I have several books that I read over and over that make me cry every time. It’s just such a sweet, tender romance that it draws out the emotional part of me. 

So as you write, think about what draws you in. If you like time travel, then write about time travel. If you like a good, sappy romance, then write that sappy romance. If it’s erotica you love, then write erotica. Everyone has a niche and you have to find that niche. For me it’s the tender, sweet love story that builds throughout the story. I try to throw in a little intrigue and mystery, but in the end it’s the romance that draws you in.

So, as always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Writing Emotion

How do you write emotion? To someone that doesn’t write you may think this is easy. Well, it’s not easy to put emotion on paper. In life we feel so many emotions. We feel happy, excited, angry, grief, depressed and the list goes on. But how do you put it on paper? How do you get the reader to feel the emotion themselves?

I’ve read books that made me laugh, cry and even get angry. But how do you relate that feeling in your own writing? It’s all in the way you describe it and put all you have in it. Make sure you put every detail in so that it brings the reader into the situation. If you leave out some of the details it could make the reader become detached.

The words you use to make the description more vivid is key. Go for the gusto, use a Thesaurus if you have to, but make every word count. When making someone cry over a sad part, tell how the tears streamed silently, or their lip trembled as they held back the sobs. Don’t just say they looked sad. To bring about the emotion, you need to describe the facial expressions, the feelings they have and how it’s affecting those around them.

I had a fan tell me that one of my books made her cry from sadness at one point and then from deep happiness by the end. In her review she put to have a box of tissues close by when reading it. I smiled broadly and realized that I’d done my job. 

So, don’t forget to fill in the descriptions and if you laugh as you write or cry, you’ve probably achieved your goal.

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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Crying doesn’t show weakness, but strength…

I’ve talked several times about how I cry easily. It’s just a trait I have. A sweet love song, a romantic movie, a faith filled gospel song, or just a memory brought back to life. 

In my opinion crying never shows weakness, but the strength to endure. When a song brings on a memory it’s the strength of heart to let your emotions open up. When a sweet romantic scene in a movie brings on emotions, it’s the strength of that emotion that brings on the tears. 

Sometimes a sweet memory gets brought on by a smell, a song, a person, or just memories in general. This can bring on a silent tear that also comes from the strength of the memory. 

Maybe you think differently, but I can tell you this, it’s the strength that we hide that brings on the tears. The strength of the memory that pours out as life’s sweet tears. 

A good author can bring on tears in just a few words. I’ve cried reading before. A book that brings on tears usually get’s read several times and put to memory. 

So let those tears flow and show your true strength. 

As always, good writing and May God Bless You…


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So I am soft hearted! What?

 

Well, last night my son and I were watching “Facing the Giants”. I started to shed a couple of tears (actually a flood). My son started to laugh at me. He said, “Mom, this is not sad, why are you crying?” I turned to him and tried to explain it. “Son, these are happy tears, not sad. I feel really good watching this film.” He just shook his head.

I have always been soft hearted. I shed tears while listening to music, watching TV, reading, and just in life. Nothing gets me more than a beautiful romance that unfolds and sees a happy ending. Weddings almost do me in. LOL!

So as I drink my 2nd cup of coffee this morning, I contemplate the issue of being soft hearted. Sometimes it can be embarrassing, but other times I look at people around me that are not reacting and I want to say, “Really. Don’t you feel anything?” So what’s wrong with a couple of tears while watching a good movie or reading a touching scene in a book. I consider it a compliment to the writer for evoking immense emotion. I could only hope to invoke that kind of emotion in my writing.

I recently was honored to have a fan write to me and tell me one of my books made her cry. She said it was in a good way. It made me feel like I had accomplished something. I had evoked emotion. So is it weird? I don’t think so, just maybe to some, but to the other softies out there, shed a tear and enjoy the moment!